Organ Freeman – Respect My Art (2017)

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It might be pretty obvious from the name that the LA-based trio Organ Freeman mines the soulful sonority of the Hammond B3, but they take it to fresh places that Jimmy Smith never did.

Respect My Art is the second long-player for this progressively minded organ/guitar/drums combo, following their 2015 self-titled debut. Trevor Steer handles organ and other keyboards, Erik Carlson mans guitar and Rob Humphreys is behind the drum kit. This band doesn’t get hung up on tradition, and there’s no classic Blue Note greasy soul jazz here. Sure, the B3 godfather Smith had to happen first before Organ Freeman, but Organ Freeman takes it forward to the present.

These guys put out a big sound for a small band. Both guitar and organ are soaring with thick slabs of heavy riffs on “Byrd vs Fish,” which reveals how they can rock as hard as they groove.

That big sound gets a little bigger for the three tracks where they’ve added a trumpet/alto sax/tenor sax lineup to soul things up further. “Long Live The King” gets going with a crisp, funked up rhythm and bolstered by that 3-man horn section and an extra guitar. The horns return for “The Green Green Grapes,” a NOLA street party number that compares to The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Punchy RnB styled horns add a kick to “Putin and I Get Along Fantastic” and Steer’s organ showcase owing as much to Rod Argent as it does Charles Earland.

There’s no set rules with this band as to what certain style should be played, and often, they just mix ’em up; “E.T. AF” goes reggae on the A section and Rock on the B section, and it all goes together rather well. “Got Change For A Nickel” has a Soulive thing going, with guest Theo Katzman’s vocal scat over his guitar lines even resembling Eric Krasno. And for “Fly You Fools!”, Humphreys employs taut, drum ‘n’ bass pulses and mixes it up with other rhythms.

The advance single “Don’t Eat Your Fingers” is energetic and dynamic but keeps its focus, and Carlson’s Hendrix-styled licks adds hot sauce to an already blazing number.

Now available at major retail outlets, the substantive Respect My Art grooves, rocks and makes you feel good without that nasty guilty pleasure aftertaste.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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